Product Type: Tooled Up garden tools
Newest Review: ... I find the shovel easy to use, and as a woman who is 5 foot 7 inches, it is a good height to 'dig' with. Overall the shovel part ... more
Why can't it snow all year long?
Tooled Up Snow Shovel with Wooden Handle
Member Name: Randal
Tooled Up Snow Shovel with Wooden Handle
Date: 31/07/11, updated on 29/04/12 (63 review reads)
Advantages: Lightweight and well made.
Disadvantages: The handle?
Progressing with the garage clean again, I came across my trusted snow shovel that I bought last year which turned out to be an absolute god send with the snows last year. The thing with snow shovels is that you never see them for sale anywhere all year, and then after a heavy snow fall and the days spent trying to clear your drive with a common garden spade, you promise yourself that you will get one, and then never actually getting around to it. Well last year, I finally took the plunge and bought this, and it is absolutely brilliant.
I paid £12 for it from a DIY market and the good thing about it is, it is quite big. For years, I spent days trying to shift snow from paths and the drive around my house with an ordinary garden spade The short handle meant I was always stooped over, and the little spade head meant that I could only move a little snow each time. So shifting snow became quite a chore.
With this snow shovel, the first thing you notice is the single long wooden handle which is 4 feet long, the same sort of handle that you would find on a garden broom. At the bottom end of the handle you have the business part - the shovel itself. The bright red shovel is made from a robust plastic moulding, which is strengthened by having several large grooves along it. Size wise the shovel head is 18 inches by 12 inches, and also has a slight curve designed into it to allow you to get some leverage against the snow. So in the hand, it is lightweight, and from looks and feel alone, it seems to be quite robust and well made.
So what's it like to use? Well when our first snowfall hit overnight last year, I was out like a shot in the morning with this shovel to give it a try, and it is impressive. The first thing is that with the long handle, you don't need to stoop down so low to scoop anything up with the shovel. But more importantly, the large shovel head means that you can easily shift a lot of snow with each scoop, overall meaning that it is a lot quicker and easier to clear your path and your drive when compared to an ordinary garden spade. So with freshly fallen snow, this shovel is an absolute breeze to work with.
However, you also have to consider other forms of snow. What happens when it compacts or freezes over? How does the shovel then handle snow? Well if snow is compacted, particularly on drives or pathways, it very often will have ice under it, because when you compress snow, it melts and then refreezes again on the cold ground. In this scenario, the shovel is adequate for scooping away the top layer of snow, but starts to struggle a bit trying to get the ice up. The problem is that with the shovel head being plastic, it isn't quite robust enough to bite into the ice and get it up. In extreme cases, the only way I found around it was to revert back to my old garden spade to break the ice up, and then to use the snow shovel again to gather up and lift the broken bits of ice in order to move them away. A bit of a laborious process overall, but it eventually does get the job done.
Other things to consider? From my perspective, I have fairly strong hands, so find it relatively easy to just grab the broom handle bit and push it into the snow and lift away. But my wife has also used this on occasion and says that she can find gripping the handle a little difficult when trying to shift a lot of snow, and says it would be better if there was perhaps a T handle on the end of the shaft, and I can see where she is coming from with this idea. With a T handle on the end, you can get your hand behind it to apply a little bit more force to dig the shovel into the snow. It also has the added bonus in that it can make turning the shovel (say when you're emptying the snow from it) a little easier. I think it could just be down to personal preference, I don't mind the handle as is and find it easy to work with, but the wife finds it a little hard to work with when the going gets tough. Either way, it may be something that you may need to consider if you buy this shovel.
In summary then, where does all this leave us? Well, if you're quick off the mark and the snow is freshly fallen, this shovel is a must and will have your paths and drive cleared in no time. However, leave the snow for a while and let it compact under foot and on the drive, and this shovel will struggle to clear the way and you could find yourself reverting back to your old metal spade. Then you may have the handle issue to contend with. Will you be able to comfortably work with it?
So balancing everything up, I'm sort of floating between 3 and 4 stars, but will give it the benefit of the doubt and score it with 4 well deserved stars.
Review also on Ciao under Randal1.
Summary: Great for fresh snow, but may struggle with ice.